Pakistani Elections – My Opinion

It was not a vote for PPP (Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan’s Peoples Party) nor for PML, Nawaz League. It was a vote against the policies of General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf. Am I satisfied with the results? Yes, of course. My fellow Pakistani citizens have voted for peace over war, just like their counterparts voted out their war mongering leaders in other parts of the world including UK, Spain, and hopefully soon in the USA.

And a word of caution for PPP and PML(N). If they did not deliver on their promises, the people will also vote them out of power. So they better wise up and this time do not screw up as badly as they did in the 1990s.

Goat & CD-70

A 70cc motor cycle (CD-70) is a good way to get around in traffic jams all over Pakistan. But sometimes, it is used in extremely ingenious ways. Take a look at this picture, where three goats are sandwiched between the passenger and the driver. The motor cycle engine is barely able to carry the weight of two people and here it is carrying three heavy goats along with the passengers. Amazing. Really amazing.

Goat and Motorcycle

I shot this mobile camera photo on the main road linking Jhang with Faisalabad in Punjab, Pakistan.

>Startup Insider Islamabad Session

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What a wonderful gathering at LMKR for the inaugural Startup Insider, Islamabad Session. At a conservative estimate, I would say at least 100 people showed up at the event including half of them students. Not bad for an event that was only marketed via blogs and email lists. The attendees included successful and budding entrepreneurs running great organizations, there were bloggers and journalists covering the event and professionals not just from the IT sector, but also from the Telecom, Media and Development sector.

The panel included successful entrepreneurs from BrightSpyre (Cogilent Solutions), Scrybe, Trevorsoft (Bentley Systems), Voxel among others. What surprised me the most was the fact that most of the companies on the panel had secured funding through some Venture Capital Fund. In fact, barring one or two, most of them were funded from the Silicon Valley. And quite a few of them were working on cutting edge technologies and beyond.

We had great case studies from the audience as well. We even heard from an enterprising student who had written a highly popular application on Facebook which today has almost a million users. He successfully negotiated and sold it off to another company in the valley from his dorm room in Pakistan! He is now busy launching yet another application on Facebook and already has offers from potential buyers, again from the valley. He asked a simple question from the panel. How can he now secure a bigger place (than his current dorm room) to build these applications in a more professional environment with a bigger team.

Another surprise from the audience was a budding young engineer who had written a wonderful application on the open source platform and had posted it to Sourceforge. And his application was not only being downloaded heavily but people were paying him money to enhance/customize it for them. Hence, he was running a successful one man shop right out of his home in Rawalpindi. And for payment processing, he was using Amaana, another enterprising application coming out of Lahore, which is Pakistan’s answer to Paypal.

Osama Hashmi (Green & White) and Owais Ashraf (Bentley Systems) managed and moderated the whole event quite brilliantly. Thank you LMKR (Atif Khan) for hosting this event and treating us to wonderful coffee/tea and appetizers.

It was really pleasing to see active participation of the students as well. It showed that some of them will probably take up entrepreneurship as a career and will forgo the urge to work for another company. Just one observation. The folks on the panel be requested to provide a detailed personal background (education, work experience and why they chose entrepreneurship over employment) and what is so great about their company. This will further enhance the experience of listening to these success stories and understanding where they are all coming from. Startup Insider Sessions will be held once a month in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Please check Green & White blogsite for the event details and do attend them if you are in the area.